News & ToursJuly 14, 2011

MediaWatch: Worst short putter in Hall?

Royal St. George's held its own on Thursday, despite the fact its wind machine malfunctioned. It made for better scoring, but diminished the rub-of-the-green element.

"Looks like the wind Gods are having an afternoon tea," John Daly posted on Twitter.

A couple of ESPN hands gave nice, succinct summations of what playing Royal St. George's is typically like, when the wind doesn't go on hiatus.

"It's not a modern golfer's course," Peter Alliss, on loan from the BBC, said. "Modern golfers don't like humps and bumps. They like flat fairways, holding greens and nice sand in the bunkers."

He could have been describing PGA Tour players on American courses, no?

Curtis Strange, meanwhile, paid notice to the myriad bumps that give Royal St. George's its character, though players no doubt would substitute a different descriptive word.

"It's the largest pinball machine you'll ever try to play golf on," Strange said. "Good shots go bad, bad shots go good."

More good shots stayed good on day one of the British Open.

Getty Images

Phil Mickelson.jpg

The rest of the media roundup:

-- Phil Mickelson's lackluster British Open record warrants an annual examination and yet for all the dissection it remains inexplicable, as ESPN's Paul Azinger suggested.

"A lot's made of his ball flight and the fact he hits it too high to play here," Azinger said. "He can hit it as low as anybody. I'm surprised at that record. Shocked, really."

Mickelson opened with an even-par 70.

-- Azinger on Mickelson's short putting, after running his first putt three feet past the hole on 16: "What is it about Mickelson that that length of putt just makes us all so nervous to watch him? We all know he's going in the Hall of Fame, but he might end up being the worst short putter in the entire Hall of Fame."

-- ESPN is back with its ball tracer technology, though under a new name. Last year at St. Andrews it was called Perfect Path. This year it's called Flight Track. Southwest Airlines is sponsoring it, hence the name.

It was a telecast-enhancer last year when it tracked shots from behind the 17th tee and over the Old Course Hotel sign. It is similarly effective at Royal St. George's.

"ESPN's live FlightTrack raises the bar for other networks who show similar rear-view ball tracking on tape. It's especially good on a links," blogger and Golf World contributor Geoff Shackelford posted on Twitter.

-- CNN's James Huber on Twitter: "I love [Tom] Weiskopf especially because of the new words he introduces. 'complesticity' was his latest. You got that, right?"

I heard it as "complexicy." Weiskopf, working for ESPN, was looking for complexity, but it took a bad hop. It happens at Royal St. George's.

-- Is everyone mispronouncing Thomas Bjorn's last name? Maybe so.

After Golf Channel's kelly Tilghman post on Twitter that "Thomas was Bjorn to play Royal St. George's," Stina Sternberg, Golf Digest's resident Scandinavian expert and a native Swede, posted this in response: "Just FYI, "BJORN" is actually pronounced "byearn" (rhymes with "yearn") in Denmark. And it means 'bear.'"

-- On Twitter, Paula Creamer unwittingly joined the endless debate over whether it is appropriate to call the Open Championship the British Open.

"I love watching the British open. Hit it and hope it takes a good bounce mentality," she posted.

Her next post a few hours later suggested she'd been inundated with complaints.

"Man everyone is pretty sensitive with the whole 'British Open' 'The Open' title."

Overly sensitive would be more accurate.

-- John Strege

(Photo by Getty Images)

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